Day 4 tally = 3290 km

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our day in Yellowstone Park was to be the "rest" day.  But when you combine slightly ambitious plans, a car without a burdensome trailer and a large detour due to a fire, the day went from restful to at times chaotic and at best, tiring.  Unfortunately I'm writing this entry a week after our experience, and it's very difficult for me to convey that raw emotion of frustration as I'm currently in a land of gorgeous sunsets and scenery, but I will try!

The day began early, as waking at 6 a.m had become the custom for long driving days.  We started the day with a hike at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park.  The park is already a broad range of landscape from plateauing mountains, surprising geysers and nonchalant buffalo's.  The canyon cuts a sharp line into the scenery and the result is spectacular.  We began our hike on the north rim, circling over the "tourist bus" bridge to connect to the south rim trail.  Our hike was solitary and after spending countless miles on the road the respite from traffic was welcome.  It wasn't until our destination at Artist's Point that we encountered the bulging parking lot and every tourist that had come to Yellowstone Park.  Nonetheless, the view made up for it and we were soon back on the trail leading to Lower Falls, a 308 ft waterfall.  We descended the 328 steps to the river bed (no, I did not assess how sore my legs and ass would be during the following days' 16 hr drive prior to the climb!)
With burning legs, we headed back up to the canyon edge and returned to our campsite for lunch.  The afternoon was spent stopping at any waterfall, geyser or any landscape remotely worthy of a picture.  This happens I guess when the trailer you've been lugging around for over 3000 km is suddenly disconnected from your vehicle.  Our drive took us past elk and buffalo, on to the southern area of the park where geysers boil over and sulfer and wind dominate the air.  After walking around the Upper Geysers we made our way towards Old Faithful where our 40 minute wait proved worthy and the geyser errupted over 150 ft in the air.  After touring a few more geysers in the area, we continued our circular tour around the park to the West Basin and finally on to Canyon Junction, where hot showers (lacking after a few days of camping) dinner and a necessary hookup of the trailer in preparation for our early morning drive was required
Approaching the final 16 km of the drive, we noticed heavy grey smoke in the sky directly where we were headed.  It was also around that time we noticed Park Rangers situated at the side of the road........and the car in front of us turning around.
Sure enough, the fire just happened to be where we were driving and we had to head back to reach our campground.  The only way back was counterclockwise around the park, past old faithful and the geysers, past the buffalo we'd seen hours earlier that day.  Over 1 1/2 hours later and we were finally at the campsite.  Still a little sunlight left and we had time to hook up the trailer.  Then off to the main building for showers, then dinner and to sleep for an early, EARLY 4 a.m start!!
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